July 18, 2018
The Pastor’s Pen
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
At first the death of a loved one may seem a cruel intrusion on such a ripe and gorgeous summer day. And yet, what better time than in the flush of mud-stained hands fresh from the garden, or a morning at the shore, to receive word, that word. One we love has flown to glory with all the saints in light.
We’re never ready. We’re not ready for that call when it comes, even when we hear a beloved parent has passed after a long illness. We’re not ready even when we sigh with some measure of relief that the long fight against cancer has ended for a dear friend. We’re especially unprepared when death comes swiftly, at some inconsequential hour for a reason we so little could have anticipated, nor understand.
When we receive word of the death of a loved one, we’re caught up in a sorrow string that binds all humankind together. No one of us, save the very young, remains stranger to it. In that liminal season of grief, our hearts soften into a kind of wonderment about unseen things and the mysteries of faith.
Alice Walker once wrote: “I notice that it is only when my mother is working in her flowers that she is radiant, almost to the point of being invisible – except as Creator: hand and eye. She is involved in work her soul must have. Ordering the universe in the image of her personal conception of Beauty…In search of my mother’s garden, I have found my own.”
Today we give thanks for the garden of souls harvested by Phoebe Foster, who passed to glory this afternoon. She gathered up the lives of people like so many radiant lilies of the field, treating each of us as if we were here prize.”
Today we give thanks for Marjorie Conrad, who joined the saints in light yesterday afternoon after a brief illness. Small in stature and feisty of spirit, she smiled always, reflecting a grateful and generous heart.
And today we remember a neighbor, Eugenia Mayakis Murphy, one of the summer people who call York home. Her garden held the fruits of her grown children, one of whom preceded her in death by a only a couple of days.
Wherever this finds you in your summer occupations, pause for a moment and speak aloud a word of gratitude and wonder for the gifts of God made known through those we have loved.
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Pastor Anna V. Copeland
Together, we can bring Christ's word and work to the world.